Heart In Hand

support Urma Sallinger + Turn The Tables + The Monolith + EVRA
author PP date 13/09/13 venue Lions & Barrels, Copenhagen, DEN

Lions & Barrels is actually a surprisingly solid venue; the sound system and the slightly upmarket feel of the place could easily attract bigger crowds if its location was any better. Not that the Parken Stadium is outside of the city, but given that it's in Østerbro, far away from the nightlife of inner city or even Nørrebro, it isn't exactly the place to start your Friday night in. Yet here I find myself with a few handful of others for a five band lineup, spearheaded by the critically acclaimed melodic hardcore Brits in Heart In Hand, marveling at the idea that directly 50 meters behind the scene is the national stadium of Denmark, where next week will see the opening match for this year's Champions League group stage matchup between Juventus and local team FC Copenhagen.

EVRA - plenty of energy on stage

EVRA

Tonight's opening band is a brand new Copenhagen metalcore outfit EVRA, who specialize in a southern fried brand of the genre not much unlike Norma Jean in its dissonant yet oddly melodic glory. I'm a little late to the party due to the early 19:30 start, so I only catch the last four songs where the band display decent energy on stage, even if they do appear a little awkward at this point of their career. They're missing one guitarist tonight, and they're playing in front of a miniscule turnout of less than 20 people or so, yet a couple of their songs suggest that their upcoming EP should be worth checking out. For the last song, their singer throws away his shirt to scream the song bare-chested, but it does little to impress such a small turnout, where dynamic between the crowd and the band is largely nonexistent.

6

Jesper of Monolith collapsing on stage screaming

The Monolith

For the second Danish band on the bill tonight, that dynamic is irrelevant for two reasons specifically: one, their show is synonymous with an energetic performance, even if the synchronized headbanging feels a little bit contrived and pre-agreed upon, and two, their songs do all of the talking tonight. Seldom have I experienced a brand new Danish band impress me this much on first listen in a live environment. Complex melody arrangements meet brutal breakdowns, deathcore-ish passages, and low-end chugging. But that paints but a tiny portion of what The Monolith's soundscape is all about. Imagine a soundscape composed of elements from sounds as varied as Between The Buried And Me, The Safety Fire, The Fall Of Troy, Saosin, and Circa Survive? All of these bands come to mind during various parts of the show in the best way possible. Jazzy, progressive metal provides the complicated instrumental landscape, but often transitions into post-hardcore style dynamics shortly after. The vocals, delivered by Jesper Vicencio Gün, are equally versatile. His screams are thick and voluminous, often delivered in a caustic high pitch manner, the growls recall BTBAM's power, and the cleans go for high range emotive style reminiscent of Anthony Green worship. Think strained vocal chords and all that. There are some pure cleans as well, but this is an area that needs more work as they do on occasion sway away from the center of the tuner. All of this comes together in majestic, interesting songs that are undeniably well composed. Yes, their live performance appears a little shy/awkward at times (minus the enthusiastic and energetic performance by their vocalist), but that's only because this is their third show ever. That will come in due time. For now, I'm just very, very impressed about the material I heard live today, that surely won over at least a few new fans in the smallish crowd.

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Turn The Tables

Turn The Tables

The same absolutely cannot be said about Turn The Tables, the lone Norwegian band on the tour. They play a technical brand of metalcore that's heavily fueled by hardcore of the most monotonous kind: there are few--if any--points of reference in their sound, and the muddy sound takes all the detail out of their soundscape in one clean swell. I certainly heard none of the Misery Signals style material that listens to "Intentions" EP online suggest has been an influence to the band. The vocals sound identical for the entirety of their set, offering nothing but a monotonous, low-end scream that cannot even begin to compare to some of the more nuanced vocalists in the genre. Yes, the band has good stage energy, but they suffer from an immensely generic, one-dimensional sound that goes absolutely nowhere tonight. It's symptomatic of the show that I jot down in my notes that there's really nothing to write down about their performance, other than the energy.

5

Urma Sellinger

Urma Sellinger

Urma Sellinger are representing Sweden in the lineup tonight. They're also the only band that lie firmly within emo/post-hardcore, and the only group that utilizes two lead vocalists. They are characterized by a primary screamer, who delivers a passionate performance packed with emotion that on several occasions leads him into the crowd to lead the mosh pit first hand. His counterpart, a classic emo clean vocalist, is way more reserved, content to traversing the stage in his own, and generally looking way less into it overall. When combined with the instrumentals, Urma Sellinger basically come across as a Silverstein clone, albeit a few classes below them in terms of songwriting ability. Then there's the dual vocalist thing; if Shane Told can do both screams and cleans by himself, why can't these guys do it? Sure, there are moments where the two are juxtaposed, but not enough to convince me there's really a need for two vocalists other than a lack of singing/screaming talent, respectively. Otherwise, the band look and feel generic, like the poster boys for the saturation present within post-hardcore in 2013.

Heart In Hand - crowd is loving it

Heart In Hand

So far the crowd has been rather reserved tonight. Aside from a couple of small pits, most people have been content to just standing back and watching the bands play. All of that changes for Heart In Hand, who immediately gather most of the crowd at the front row and launch a few insane pits (considering how few people are here tonight). This is the sort of energy where people are jumping on each other's backs to reach for the microphone, and the band is taking every bit of it in, responding with passion and equal energy on stage. It has taken them two days to drive to this venue according to their words, so it's really no surprise that they are so much into it when they see people jumping on stage to sing along, to crowd surf, to stage dive and all that. The band themselves are full of energy - crashing into crowd members on stage, in constant motion, and delivering a convincing performance that has all the signs of urgency and immediacy. They have the vibe of a band that is simply 'happening' right now.

Photos by: Julie Weitmann Decome

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